Consent, Interaction, and the Value of Shared Understanding

Consent, Interaction, and the Value of Shared Understanding
Research Article
Richard Healey
Legal Theory, 28 March 2022; 28(1) pp 35 – 58
Abstract
Recent years have seen a proliferation of philosophical work on consent. Within this body of work, philosophers often appeal to an account of the interests, values, or functions that underpin the power of consent. By far the most commonly cited value realized by the power of consent is the promotion and protection of the power-holder’s autonomy. This focus on autonomy yields what I call the Gate Opener Model of consent, according to which the central valuable function of consent is to give the power-holder control over whether other people can act in certain ways. In this article, I argue that the Gate Opener Model of consent is inadequate. I then defend an alternative Relational Model of consent, according to which a central valuable function of consent is to enable a non-instrumentally valuable form of interaction between people.

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